Opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party torn by infighting ahead of special congress

The leader of the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, Kornelia Ninova, has come under further attack from within her own party ahead of a special congress that she has called for October 28, with critics saying they doubt she could lead the BSP to victory in the event of early elections.

Ninova was elected leader of the BSP in May 2016. A poll a few months later showed that her election had significantly boosted support for the party. Ninova was further bolstered in November 2016 when the candidate backed by the BSP, Roumen Radev, won Bulgaria’s presidential elections.

But in Bulgaria’s May 2017 early parliamentary elections, Ninova’s BSP came in second, with 27.2 per cent, behind Boiko Borissov’s centre-right GERB which got 32.65 per cent and went on to form a coalition government with a grouping of nationalist and far-right parties.

In more than 60 recent minor by-elections in municipalities across the country, GERB has won the lion’s share and the BSP less than a handful. At a stormy meeting of the BSP national council some days ago, critics of Ninova – commonly termed the “internal opposition” – levelled charges against her of consistently leading the party to electoral defeat. The meeting got so uproarious that, instead of the appointed chairman, Ninova herself had to take the chair in an attempt to calm proceedings down.

Under Ninova, the BSP recently has conducted a campaign of raising allegations in numerous municipalities against GERB leadership there, in an an apparently concerted effort to trigger sundry local elections.

Senior members of the BSP also have been speculating that after Bulgaria’s EU Presidency is over at the end of the first half of 2018, the country will go to early parliamentary elections.

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